Brit who vanished from West Yorkshire a YEAR ago found 1,000 miles away

THE family of the Brit who vanished from Yorkshire a year ago say they can’t wait to be reunited with him after he was found in Lapland.

Nial Atkin disappeared from Huddersfield in May 2020 with police initially suspecting he went to Scotland.

But his mother was amazed to learn earlier this week that a man from Kiruna, the northernmost town in Sweden, in the province of Lapland, put up a Facebook post saying he had taken in a confused Englishman and for his family to come forward.

Jerry Ahlqvist became concerned when he saw the disorientated man pacing back and forth on Friday so decided to offer him a shower and a clean bed after he saw he was sleeping rough.

Now the family have said "we look forward to the day when Nial is home safe and sound".

The family also thanked everyone "for their outpouring of support and concern" which they described as being "both heartwarming and beautiful to see".

A statement on social media said: "Your support really does mean the world to both Jerry and Nial’s family. Without the support and interest of the public Nial's family would never have been found."

Jerry said he identified himself as Nial, and was the subject of a search after vanishing last year.

He has since set up a GoFundMe to help raise money to send Nial home.

On Saturday, Jerry posted a Facebook status with a picture of Nial saying: “So yesterday I found a homeless person that was acting a bit strange, he seemed confused and was just walking back and forth.

“I brought him home and cleaned him, gave him some food and new clothes, and a clean bed to sleep in.

“He is kind of hard to communicate with, he gets lost in his thoughts, takes a long time to answer questions and he just stares into nothing.

“He has told me some information about himself but he ends every sentence with ‘sort of’ so the information can also be incorrect.

“He told me his name is Niall Akin, it could be some variation to that like Niel or Nial.

“Same with his last name, he just told me ‘Akin’ and when I asked him if it is spelled Akin he just said ‘sort of’.

“He said he is 26-years-old and that he used to work in IT, somewhere around Leeds.

“He also said he was born and raised in that region (sort of) so somewhere in the middle of the country I guess.

“I can’t help the feeling that his family is concerned about his whereabouts and maybe looking for him, also he is confused and he is not capable of taking care of himself.

He is currently in a small town called Kiruna way up north in Sweden. I think he needs some help but I don’t know what to do?

“Anyway he is currently in a small town called Kiruna way up north in Sweden. I think he needs some help but I don’t know what to do? Help me help him? Share and try finding his family?”

Kindly Facebookers alerted Jerry to a Police Scotland plea issued last year which sought help in finding missing Nial Atkin, then 25.

In a post on social media, the force asked followers: “Can you help our colleagues in West Yorkshire Police trace Nial?”

“Nial is white, 6’4”, slim, and has short brown hair which may be messy. He also has a beard.”

The post included a photo which appears to be the same man as the one on Jerry's Facebook post.

Jerry confirmed he had been in contact with Nial's mum, saying Nial may have suffered a break down.

He said: “UPDATE! We have found his mother and I have spoken with her on the phone.

“Everything will be sorted out.


It is not known how Nial got to Kiruna, Sweden, a small town home to 17,000 people.

It is possible to travel to Sweden from Scotland by boat.

The GoFundMe page to pay for Nial's return home was set up in agreement with Nial's mother.

People who saw the post said it had brightened their day.

Kay Millington said: “Thank you for being a wonderful human being and helping this man!”

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West Yorkshire Police have since issued a statement confirming Nial had been found since their search plea last year.

A spokesman said: “Kirklees Police were contacted on Sunday July 11 2021 by a caller who made a missing person’s report about a 26-year-old male who was said to be missing and believed to be in Sweden.

“Officers have now spoken with a resident in Sweden who has confirmed they have had contact with the missing person and enquiries currently remain ongoing.”

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